What Makes a Cricket Bowling Delivery an IIllegal Cricket Delivery

Illegal cricket delivery is one of the most complicated and least understood topics. It is the fundamental cause of many raggedly discussed controversies in the cricket world. 


Today we will take a look at the meaning of Illegal cricket delivery and some explanation about it. A delivery is illegal in cricket if a bowler is chucking or throwing a ball rather than bowling it.


Moreover, if a bowler bowls an underarm delivery, it is again an Illegal cricket delivery. How do we determine if a bowler is bowling the ball or throwing/chucking it? Let’s take a look.

1. An illegal bowling action

An illegal bowling action is when a bowler straightens or extends his elbow beyond 15 degrees while releasing the ball compared to the elbow’s angle when the bowling arm reaches the shoulder level while delivering the ball. 


If the difference between the two angles is more than 15 degrees, it is declared an illegal bowling action. 

One of the common misunderstandings regarding bowling rules is that people believe that a bowler cannot bowl with his bent arm. If he does so, it is chucking. But it is not precisely the case. As long as the bowler initiates the delivery action with a bent elbow and remains bent until the ball is released, it is okay. 



The problem arises when a bowler bends his arm at the start of the delivery but straightens it at the time of releasing the ball to generate more incredible pace or spin. In that case, the straightening should not exceed 15 degrees. 

If a bowler bowls with a suspicious bowling action, the batsman can appeal. The umpire then assesses the fairness of the delivery and takes appropriate action. Similarly, the umpire can also call out to the bowler if he renders the action of the bowler illegal. In such a situation, the umpire follows the following procedure:


  • The umpire first calls out a “No Ball.”
  • Then, the umpire at the bowler end issues a final warning to the bowler, which is applicable throughout the innings. The batsman is also informed about the warning.
  • A bowler who gets a warning about chucking can continue to ball throughout the remaining innings as long as he doesn’t repeat an illegal bowling action. 
  • If the umpire feels that the bowler can repeat the same illegal action, he gets suspended. The bowling team captain and the batsman are informed. Another bowler gets asked to bowl, and after the match, ICC gets informed about taking the relevant action.

If a bowler’s action gets reported for a suspicious bowling action, the bowler will have to undergo a bowling assessment at an ICC accredited bowling action testing center. These assessments measure the extent to which the bowler bends his arm during the bowling action. 


The bowler bowls every single type of delivery that he can bowl during an international match. 



A detailed report gets produced after the assessment, which is reviewed by the ICC panel. According to the assessment report, ICC decides whether the bowler can stay or leave cricket. 

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